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Full text of "My country and my people"

STORY   OF   THE   SINO-JAPANESE   WAR       367
VI. THE MAN CHIANG KAISHEK AND His STRATEGY
A psychological study of Chiang Kaishek would be most fascinating. I can discuss it here only in relation to his leadership in the present war. He had not only united China by force and masterly strategy over his older rivals, which was no mean task. He was more modern than Wu P'eifu or Yuan Shihk'ai and succeeded in doing what these two men had failed in the military unification of China under the Republic. Virtually alone and single-handed, he had defied the Wuhan Government in 1927 and established his own Government at Nanking and had changed the entire course of Kuomintang history. He had made of that Nanking Government the stable national government of China for eleven years when the war broke out, and had made of that government the basis and centre for China's internal reconstruction. He had fought a dozen major and minor civil wars, at times against formidable combinations, and had always come out victorious by sticking to his guns. He had outwitted his political adversaries and outmanoeuvred his military opponents so that they seemed always to be in the wrong. He had bought and sold generals and made temporary use of political groups to gain immediate ends. He had to work with such a medley of politicians as he found them, with the bitterest cross-currents of internal politics, and therefore he had to tolerate evils until the time came when he could do away with them. He had to fashion a new administration that held together out of the very imperfect human material a transitional generation had provided him with. He had fought with every friend and patched up with every enemy, and had employed in his own secretariat, his defeated military enemy, General Tang Shengchih, who later rebelled and again came to serve under him. He had discredited the entire Nineteenth Route Army heroes of the Shanghai War (1932) in the eyes of the Chinese people within a year and a half, and he had bought off the generals of rival warlords (except the Communist officers who could not be bought) and broken up the armies of really formidable rivals by separating their units in service at different parts of the